Life Sentences, 2003, film version 2013, CAZ’s Dublin Square Eyes https://vimeo.com/68946188
Sentences made to enunciate and explore the territory of motherhood, and to escape its confinement.
Intended as a series of metaphorical actions using space, time and objects, and their relational and dialogic potential, Life Sentences explores motherhood as institution, parodying the collusion in language that contains and condemns women.
Sentences are a series of words arranged to convey sense, or it may refer to a term in prison. Maxims and proverbs are sentences which convey simultaneously cultural sense, and non-sense. The disjunction, and collusion between the sentences used and performed, becomes a collection of actions that rub together textual, physical, symbolic, spoken, performed meaning.
The expectation and imposition of having to stay at home with baby, is exacerbated by cultural norms and expectations. Language confines and contains motherhood in the same way that life sentencing for criminals, remove them from ‘normal society’. Mothers are often censured, blamed and removed from public life.
Representation of the maternal is deeply problematic, and this work explores disjunctions with lived reality, as well as potential for aberrant non-stereotypical representation. Each maxim, (the root of the word meaning doom and condemnation), is parodied and subverted, in order to posit potential for escape for mothers.
Score: Short actions performed over the course of a day in a large space. Possible sentences: Actions speak louder than words; What the mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the grave; A stitch in time saves nine; Necessity is the mother of invention;It’s no use crying over spilt milk;Time is a great teacher but unfortunately it kills all its pupils;Defenceless as babies are, they have their mothers at their command; A rod for your own back;The precursor of the mirror is mother’s face; The pot calling the kettle black